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Kirk Ferentz's Losses to Iowa State, Ranked

Kirk Ferentz has taken plenty of L's at the hands of the Cyclones, so we've decided to rate them in terms of Heartbreakability!

"Remember to punt"
"Remember to punt"
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz signed a contract extension through the 2026 season. For Iowa State fans, this is great news. Since Ferentz was hired in 1999, Iowa State holds a 9-8 advantage in the series, even though Iowa State is a measly 84-125 overall since 1999.

With the upcoming rivalry game and the recent Ferentz contract extension, we've decided to rank Kirk's nine losses to Iowa State on a Heartbreakability scale!

While heart-breaking losses are technically Iowa State's forte (Kansas State like 3 times, Missouri once or twice, anyone remember that fake extra point?), we by no means hold a monopoly on them. Some of these losses were mere stumbles by the Hawkeyes and occurred in years where either the ‘Clones were the better team, or when both teams were, quite frankly, hog shit.

The true purpose of this scale is to rate those mystifying, mind-numbing games where the Hawkeyes let "little brother" (Lord, has that dead horse been beaten enough already) throw a Cardinal and Gold monkey wrench into the Hawkeyes' quest for glory. And when I say glory, I mean getting like 8 wins. It's a good thing their coach isn't overpaid or anything...

No Big Deal


This is easily the least frustrating loss to the Cyclones of the Ferentz era. Neither team was particularly good that year -- Iowa went 1-10, Iowa State 4-7 -- and the game was in Ames. Plus, it was Ferentz's first year. Nothing to worry about, right? Right. Nothing to see here.


Once again, this loss wasn't a big deal. In Ferentz's second year, Iowa went 3-9 while the Cyclones won 9 games, including the Insight Bowl. Losing at Kinnick probably stung, but overall this loss wasn't too bad. It's not like they were going to lose to "ISmoooo" three years in a row, right?


The 2001 game, played in November, was won by Iowa State after Tony Yelk hit a 32-yard field goal in the 4th quarter to give the Cyclones a 17-14 win. Both teams finished 7-5 that season, so a three point loss on the road is frustrating, but not a breaking point. Besides, there's no way the glorious Hawkeyes would lose to Iowa State a fourth time in a row, right?

Okay, You Gotta Win That


In 2011, Iowa was coming off an 8-5 year and a victory in the Insight Bowl. The Hawkeyes had won the previous three Cy-Hawk games -- including the last two by a combined score of 70-10 -- and it looked like they were primed for another victory. Instead, Iowa State scored a touchdown with 1:17 remaining in the 4th quarter to send the game to overtime. ISU eventually won in triple OT.

Blowing a lead in the 4th quarter to a rival team whom you've beaten by sixty points over the last two years? If that doesn't scream "five year extension," I don't know what does!


Entering the 2012 season, Iowa State hadn't won in Kinnick in a decade. The Hawkeyes had barely snuck by Northern Illinois in week one as they won 18-17. Hosting Iowa State seemed like the perfect cure. Instead, the Hawks went out and scored six measly points in a 6-9 loss (lol).

Some fun facts about this game: Damon Bullock was Iowa's leading rusher that day with 53 yards on 22 attempts, good for a 2.4 yards per carry average; the Cyclones only had 2.5 yards per carry; and Iowa State had four turnovers and six punts, yet still came out on top. This was possibly the ugliest Iowa-Iowa State game of the Ferentz era, but in many ways, it was also the most beautiful. This, my friends, was El Assico at its finest.


This was a tremendous game. Iowa came in ranked #8 in the country, and QB Drew Tate had been named the Big Ten's preseason offensive player of the year. Kirk Herbstreit even had Drew Tate as a potential Heisman finalist! The Hawkeyes had beaten Ball State by 56 in their season opener, but could only muster 3 points against Iowa State. Thanks to five Hawkeye turnovers, Iowa State won 23-3.

The best part of this game? The Big Ten preseason offensive player of the year injuring himself trying to tackle the ISU defender returning one of his numerous interceptions. Poor guy just couldn't catch a break.

What The Shit, Kirk


The 2007 game was a shit show. Iowa State had just parted ways with Dan McCarney after the 2006 season and Gene "five and nineteen" Chizik was in his first year as a head coach. The Hawkeyes came to Jack Trice hoping to avenge the brutal 23-3 loss from the last time they were in Ames. Iowa's defense held the Cyclones without a touchdown and, with just over 3:00 left in the game, Iowa took the lead, 13-12. Bret Meyer found Phillip Bates (who?) for a 38 yard gain to set up a game-winning field goal by Bret Culbertson. Shaggy nailed it.

Chizik, an objectively terrible coach with an objectively terrible roster, was able to beat Kirk Ferentz without scoring a single touchdown. That's the Kirk Ferentz magic! That's football!


Iowa took a commanding 14-3 halftime lead at Kinnick over the Cyclones, who were coming off a 3-9 season in 2013 and would go on to finish the 2014 campaign at 2-10. Instead of laying down like they did the rest of the season, Iowa State stormed back and with 4:08 left, the game was tied. The Cyclones drove down the field and had a chance for a game-winning field goal with seven seconds left. Cole Netten missed the field goal, but Mr. $40 Million Buyout himself called a timeout just before the snap. Netten nailed the make-up kick to send Iowa fans home in tears, and talks of another contract extension intensified.


This is the granddaddy of them all. The 2002 Hawkeyes went 11-1 in the regular season. They got as high as #3 in the Coaches poll. Future NFL'ers such as Brad Banks, Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, Chad Greenway, Robert Gallery, and Nate Kaeding were on this team.

Iowa took a 24-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. By the grace of SeneGod Wallace himself, Iowa State willed their way back by scoring 29 unanswered points. The Cyclones eventually won 36-31. If it weren't for this, Iowa would've had a 12-0 season thanks to a Big Ten schedule that didn't include the best team in their conference.

Sound familiar?